The Envision Tri-City Cycling Challenge 2017

Pedal Powered Change

What is the Tri-City Cycling Challenge?  

The challenge is a sponsored bike ride from Bristol to Birmingham to London to raise money for more young people to participate in the Community-Apprentice programme. The programme develops the employability of young people, typically from less advantaged backgrounds, by empowering them to take social action to tackle real life problems in their local community.  There’s a double benefit – the projects help their local communities, and they develop their own skills and employability.  A detailed and authoritative Cabinet Office funded trial has proved that Community-Apprentice develops some of the most critical skills for life and work, and so levels the educational playing field and enhances social mobility. Sound interesting? Read on to find out more. 

Why have you chosen to go from Bristol to Birmingham to London?

Envision operates in 3 cities – Bristol, Birmingham and London. It so happens that Bristol-Birmingham and Birmingham-London are both scenic bike rides which can be done almost entirely off major roads. The ride amounts to 250 miles, so it’ll also be a genuine challenge! It will take place midsummer so there will be plenty of daylight – and sunshine will of course be guaranteed…The ride will start in Bristol at about 9.30 am on the morning of Friday 16 June 2017.  We will aim to do close to 100 miles on each of the first 2 days, enabling a shorter final day. We will ride hard on Day 1, getting close to Birmingham.We will ride through Birmingham on the morning of Day 2 (Saturday 17th), and stay the night close to Buckingham.  On Day 3 (Sunday 18th) we will approach London through the scenic Buckinghamshire countryside, ending in Central London in the early afternoon (all being well!), in time for a celebratory picnic for family, friends and Envision students, graduates and supporters. We will send out full route information with gradients etc. nearer the time.


Is this going to be a big charity bike ride with hundreds of participants, marshals etc.?

No – that isn’t Envision’s style at all. We believe in a challenge! There will be 2-3 groups of 10-12 riders each. We will have fully prepared the ride route, provided GPX files for the route, mechanics for support, transportation of bags between accommodation stops, etc., but there won’t be a big group of marshals at every turn. This will be a small, entrepreneurial challenge, in keeping with Envisions culture, and you’re going to need to work as a team and display the qualities Envision focuses on developing in young people – such as teamwork, communication, resilience and problem-solving.


So how fit do I need to be?

Any bike ride of 250 miles in 3 days requires you to train and be reasonably fit.  As long as you are healthy and have trained in advance you should be absolutely fine. There are already several “silver cyclists” committed to the ride, including our middle-aged Chair – if he can do it, so can you! However if you’re not sure about your fitness, please obviously consult your doctor before committing to the ride.


How much will it cost me to take part?

Participation in the ride will cost £300 – this will cover the costs of the event including accommodation typically in twin rooms (we hope single rooms will be available at a supplement), meals, refreshments en route and a van to transport bikes from London to the start and to move bags between overnight stops. We hope most participants will feel able to fund the £300 cost themselves, thus maximising the amount we raise for Envision.  However you may choose to pay this in advance and to deduct the cost from the amount you raise from sponsorship (as long as this is made clear to your sponsors).


How much are you looking to raise?

We ask each individual participant to commit to do their best to raise at least £1,000 in sponsorship.   This will put 2 young people through the ten month Community-Apprentice programme.  If 20 participants each raise at least £1,000, then £20,000 would finance 40 young people through Community-Apprentice.  We’re not asking participants to guarantee you’ll raise £1,000.  However with relatively few riders we need to make every participant count.  For a charity with a turnover of around £700,000 even £20,000 will make a massive difference – but we hope to raise much, much more than £20,000, and so provide this life-changing opportunity to many more young people.


Will I get a chance to meet Envision students and Grads if I take part?

Yes, absolutely.  There will be lots of opportunities.  You will be invited to take part in some student events in early 2017 before the ride, to help your fundraising and cycling momentum! We will aim to have an Envision graduate or employee in each cycling team.  Then after the ride all participants and major sponsors will be invited to a party directly following the Envision London Graduation Ceremony.  This is provisionally scheduled for Tuesday 27th June 2017 in Central London (subject to venue availability).   This will be an opportunity to meet Envision students and graduates, and to celebrate not only the ride but also the achievements of our students over the past year. You can get to know more about some of our Grads by reading their stories. 


What else will be going on?

Each team of ten will be helped to submit short films about their challenge – just as every Envision team does. In the first film your team will explain why the chosen cause (to support Envision!) matters, what you are doing to help (get fit and cycle hard), the teams fundraising target, and what you are hoping to get out of the challenge. In the second film, completed after the ride, your team will reflect on the experience, the challenges faced and the skills developed along the way. Don’t worry: we and the young people you meet will help your team with advice and support in making the film! The best film will be screened at the annual London Graduation Ceremony, and at the post-ride party. The young people will choose the winning team – bonus points if you can inspire or make them laugh! 


I’d love to do part of the ride but can’t do all 3 days.  Can I still participate?

Yes, we can accommodate a small number of riders for each of the days.  The cost will be £50 for day participants, but we still ask you to commit to trying to raise at least £1,000.


What if I want to help but don’t feel up to the ride?

We would love help in organising the ride, either in advance and/or during the ride itself. Please don’t be shy and contact Amy Garfield or Simon Lough.

How can I find out more?

If you are interested please reserve the dates (Friday 16th June – Sunday 18th 2017), and direct questions and/or express your interest by contacting any of the following: